Snake Island’s Roman Hrybov (the iconic “Russian warship, go f@ck yourself” VS. Moskva (the Russian flagship which sank). The David and Goliath Story and the Ukrainian Commemoration Stamp.

The sinking of Moskva

“Russian warship, go fuck yourself” (Ukrainian: Русскій воєнний корабль, іді …!, romanized: Russkii voiennyi korabl, idi …!, lit. ’Russian Warship, go …!’) is a stamp issued by the Ukrainian Postal Services, Ukrposhta. Issued on 12 April 2022, it commemorates an incident during the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

On 24 February 2022, the warship Moskva and the patrol boat Vasily Bykov had approached Ukraine’s Snake Island in the Black Sea. Ukrainian soldiers on the island had refused to surrender, responding instead, “Russian warship, go fuck yourself!”

On 8 March, the Ukrainian postal service launched a contest in which artist Boris Groh’s design received the most votes.

The stamp features a drawing of a Ukrainian soldier presenting the middle finger to the Russian cruiser Moskva. The overall layout with the ochre land underneath the blue sea mimics the colors of the Flag of Ukraine. The special postmark accompanying the stamp shows the outline of Snake Island. The stamp is available in a domestic and a foreign version. President Zelenskyy had his picture taken with the stamps and commented that Russian warships should only sail in one direction.

Roman Hrybov

The soldier from whom the radio message is said to have come is Roman Hrybov. He and the head of the Ukrainian Post Office, Ihor Smyljanskyj, signed the first special envelopes with the stamps at the Kyiv Main Post Office.

Moskva sank on April 14, two days after the stamp was issued.


Ukrainians snap up souvenir Moskva warship stamps

For a second day big queues formed at post offices in Kyiv as Ukrainians rushed to buy commemorative stamps showing a Ukrainian border guard defying the Russian warship Moskva with a rude gesture.

But many were disappointed, Unian news agency says, as supplies of the stamps and souvenir envelopes ran out. The postal service Ukrposhta said more sheets of the stamps would go on sale on Monday.

Now the stamp is treasured all the more because the Moskva – pride of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet – sank after a fire and explosion on Thursday. Ukraine says it sank the cruiser with two missiles, while Russia says only that a fire and explosion on board sank it.

The stamp was the result of a national competition last month. Border guard Roman Hrybov became a national hero for his gesture near Snake Island in the Black Sea, when the Russian navy told him and his comrades to surrender.

An Ukrposhta tweet featuring the stamp says “we announce a competition for the next target”, tapping into Ukrainians’ defiant spirit.

And another Ukrposhta tweet shows a long queue at a post office, with the message: “Perhaps for the first time in history the queue for a postage stamp is longer than one for an iPhone.”

“Perhaps for the first time in history the queue for a postage stamp is longer than one for an iPhone.”

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Published: 16 April 2022.

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